Professor to summer in South Africa

Abbey Swank

He has been to Romania, Spain, Italy and Portugal. He even taught in Germany for a year. This summer he will embark on a journey to South Africa to explore a different culture’s view on psychology.

Psychology professor E. Thomas Dowd, president of the American Academy of Cognitive and Behavioral Psychology, leaves July 10 for Rhodes University. He will return just before the fall semester begins at Kent State.

“I’ve been to a lot of places,” Dowd said. “But I’ve never been to South Africa. I am eager to see what the area has to offer.”

Dowd, who was invited by the International Office of Rhodes University, said he hasn’t been given a full list of his duties yet. He said he will be there as a public intellectual who will give one or two public lectures, be a consultant within the psychology department and give talks within the department.

“Many professors are invited to study, speak, or teach abroad,” said Stevan Hobfoll, professor and director of the Applied Psychology Center. “But it is still an honor. It means that you are well known in your field and other people want to learn from you.”

Dowd said he wants to share his own knowledge of the field with the psychologists at Rhodes University, as well as his appreciation for being invited.

“It gives me fame and visibility,” he said. “And because of me and others traveling abroad, the psychology department here at Kent gets more and more recognition. And the more people who hear of us, the more grants we get for our research.”

Hobfoll said the honor shows Kent State is a leading university that can compete with schools like Harvard and Oxford.

The experience opens Dowd up to new knowledge he can bring back to Kent State as well, Hobfoll said.

“I want to find out how the psychology training operates in South Africa,” Dowd said. “I also want to learn from them about what they are doing in cognitive and behavioral psychology. They may be working on something we hadn’t thought of.”

Hobfoll said he hopes that in the future, Kent will increase its contact with Asia and other countries such as Vietnam and Thailand. Doing this and gaining a cultural exchange with them is important, he said.

“I think I am very much of an international psychologist,” Dowd said. “And I really appreciate Kent State’s international interest. They have helped me out a lot.”

Contact College of Arts and Sciences reporter Abbey Swank at [email protected].